Car insurance for foreigners

Sara Routhier, managing editor for features and outreach, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data fanatic, writer and editor, she strives to create educational and insightful articles that give you the most important facts and the best kept secrets in the overwhelming world of..

Written by Sara Routhier
Managing Editor, Features

Cynthia Lanctot is an insurance professional with ten years of industry experience. Cynthia Lanctot is licensed in several states and has an associate's degree in claims law and a bachelor's degree in English. Cynthia's experience includes the New England and Northeast states. Currently working as a liability claims specialist and occasional online writer.

Reviewed by Cynthia Lanctot
Licensed Agent

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You decide to take a trip to the U.S., whether for a vacation, a business trip, etc. When planning your trip, decide to get a vehicle and drive yourself instead of using a cab, ride-share, or public transportation. You know you'll probably need some documents to be able to drive. This may include car insurance for foreigners, a special driver's license and more.

Here's how car insurance is required for foreign drivers? What about a driver's license? Can you get temporary car insurance in the U.S. without a driver's license? Read this article to find out what you need to drive legally in the U.S. as a foreign driver.

Before you go, use the zip code of the area you'll be visiting to get a free foreign driver car insurance quote so you're prepared to drive while you visit.

Car insurance and foreign drivers

Can a foreigner purchase auto insurance in the U.S? Is this necessary? Does a foreign car insurance policy meet the requirements for coverage in the U.S? Or is additional insurance coverage required? For example, can you purchase car insurance for British drivers in the U.S?

Read the next sections to learn more.

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What are the requirements for car insurance in the U.S?

In most states in the United States, minimum liability insurance is required for you to drive legally. What exactly is liability insurance? Watch this video to learn more about them.

In this table, we have summarized the minimum liability insurance requirements for each state using data from the Insurance Information Institute and the average rates for this coverage by state using information from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

It's important to remember that the rates in this table are averages for U.Rates for foreign drivers may be higher.

While some companies don't charge higher rates for foreign drivers, others may do so because you don't have enough experience on U.S. roads. These rates can be an average of 20% higher for foreign drivers.

If you're wondering do I need a U.S. driver's license to get car insurance, read on to find out.

Do I need a U.S. driver's license to get car insurance?

A U.S. driver's license is generally not required to purchase temporary automobile insurance (although some type of license is required, as you cannot purchase insurance or drive in the U.S. without one). However, not all insurance companies sell policies to foreign drivers (more on that later).

In some cases your existing driver's license is valid. For example, Canadian and Mexican driver's licenses are usually accepted. However, in some states, you may be required to obtain an international driver's license or permit in order to legally drive (and thus purchase car insurance in those states).

The U.S. does not issue international driver's licenses or permits to foreign drivers, so you'll need to take care of this in advance.

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Should foreign drivers purchase insurance?

It depends on how long you plan to stay. If you're only here for a short time, it's probably more economical to purchase insurance through your car rental company (we'll discuss this in more detail in the next section).

However, if you plan to stay in the U.S. for a longer period of time, it may be a good idea to purchase your own policy.

Most policies are sold for six months at a time. If you believe you will need to cancel before the end of the policy period, contact a licensed insurance agent to find out the cancellation terms of the company from which you are purchasing your policy.

Does rental insurance meet the requirements of the U.S?

Car rental insurance for foreigners in the U.S. can be a good option if you plan to be in the country for a short time only. This temporary car insurance meets the minimum requirements for where you'll be traveling.

It will be an additional fee for your lease, but it is not exorbitant. Most companies will charge you between $8 and $30 per day for insurance coverage.

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The most important things to know about car insurance for foreigners

If you plan to come to the U.S., you need to know the car insurance requirements for non-U.S. citizens if you want to drive a car. Before you make the trip across the pond, there are a few things you should consider:

  • You may be required to obtain an international driver's license or permit if you are not traveling from Canada or Mexico (and you will need to obtain one in your home country before entering the U.S.)
  • If you're planning a short trip, insurance through your car rental company is probably the best option
  • If you are planning a longer trip, it may make more sense to purchase a long-term policy that you can cancel when you leave the country
  • Car insurance may be slightly more expensive for foreign drivers than the average U.S. policy.

Enjoy your trip to the U.S. and be ready to get behind the wheel by purchasing the right insurance for your driving needs.

Frequently asked questions: auto insurance for foreign drivers

Do you still have questions about car insurance for foreign drivers? Read these frequently asked questions to learn more.

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Which insurance companies accept international driver's licenses?

Insurance companies that sell policies to foreign drivers generally accept international driver's licenses and do not require a U.S. driver's license.

This includes Progressive and Farmers auto insurance, but you'll need to speak directly with the insurance companies to make sure they actually accept international driver's licenses if you want to take out a policy, as not all companies do (nor do all companies sell insurance to foreign drivers).

Can a foreigner drive my car?

The short answer is yes. However, you must make sure that your car insurance is sufficient. You may find that temporarily adding a visitor from abroad to your car insurance policy is a good option if you want to allow them to drive your vehicle.

What kind of car insurance cover do I need abroad?

If you plan to travel and drive a vehicle abroad, you will need to meet the car insurance requirements set by those countries (and you may need an international driver's license). So if you want to apply for car insurance for foreigners in the UK, Canada, Korea, Ireland, Japan, Australia, etc. Are looking for, it's best to find out about the specific requirements in the country you're planning to visit.

In Canada, for example, the main way to get car insurance as a foreigner is to apply for non-resident car insurance or have the person you're visiting temporarily add you to their policy.

Does Geico's insurance cover foreign drivers?

Depending on where you are traveling, you may be able to purchase international insurance through Geico. They can also provide assistance and recommendations for insurance coverage in different countries, if needed.

For foreign drivers in the U.S., you need to speak with a licensed Geico insurance agent.

Before you go, get a free quote for car insurance for foreign drivers today by providing the zip code of the area where you will be staying.